China steps up shipbuilding with two more aircraft carriers under construction towards 2035 navy goal

  • As China aims to equal US naval strength in the Pacific, its first domestically developed carrier begins final assembly process
  • Type 002 vessels will have advanced electromagnetic aircraft launch system allowing faster and more frequent take-off
Photos taken by military enthusiasts and posted on social media show the Type 002 aircraft carrier under construction in a dry dock in Jiangnan Shipyard outside Shanghai. Photo: Weibo

China is expected to launch its next-generation aircraft carrier within a year and construction on a sister ship for the new giant vessel has been hastened, two sources close to the projects said.

The Type 002 aircraft carrier – the country’s third carrier and the second to be domestically developed – has started the final assembly process, two independent sources told the South China Morning Post.

“Assembly of the new aircraft carrier has begun and is expected to be completed in the first half of next year, because the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down progress,” said the first source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“Workers are also starting the keel-laying for the new carrier’s sister ship. Both ships have been built by the Jiangnan Shipyard outside Shanghai.” Laying the keel is deemed the official start of construction on a new ship.

“Construction for the second Type 002 will be faster than the first one because workers have learned and overcome a lot of problems building the first one,” the second source said. “It’s a challenging job because the Type 002 is our country’s first domestically designed aircraft carrier.”

previous satellite images taken in April 2019

by the US think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.





Unlike the first two Russian-designed Type 001 aircraft carriers that were equipped with ski-jump ramps, the new vessel will have the world’s most advanced electromagnetic aircraft launch system, equal to that used by the US Navy’s new-generation Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.

The electromagnetic take-off technology means less wear and tear on the aircraft and allows more planes to be launched in a shorter time than the ski-jump system.

Hong Kong-based military commentator Liang Guoliang said the Type 002 was not expected to be nuclear-powered because so far only Chinese submarines had used the technology and none of its surface warships were nuclear-powered.

“The nuclear-powered technology is designed for China’s fifth aircraft carrier, which is likely to be built in the Dalian Shipbuilding yard,” Liang said, referring to the manufacturer that built the Shandong ship.

The new Type 002 aircraft carrier – to be the Chinese navy’s third – has entered key assembly process in a dry dock in Jiangnan Shipyard outside Shanghai. Photo: Weibo
The new Type 002 aircraft carrier – to be the Chinese navy’s third – has entered key assembly process in a dry dock in Jiangnan Shipyard outside Shanghai. Photo: Weibo

A top engineer, Ma also developed the insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) chip, a key component of high-efficiency electric energy conversion systems. Liang said it prompted President Xi Jinping, who also chairs the CMC, to make changes to the aircraft carrier design because IGBT would better support the conventionally-powered ships using the more powerful and advanced electromagnetic launch systems.

Liang said he expected that a

new stealth carrier-based fighter jet

designed for the Type 002 would make its debut when the first advanced warship was ready to be launched next year.

However, Zhou Chenming, a researcher from the Yuan Wang think tank, a Beijing-based military science and technology institute, said the Type 002 carrier would continue to carry the J-15 ship-borne fighter jet, which is now flying on the decks of the Liaoning and Shandong.

China bought its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, from Ukraine in 1998 and spent eight years retrofitting it. The ship is the only Chinese carrier to have reached initial operational capability (IOC), the basic requirement for warships. The Shandong is expected to meet IOC standard next year.

Zhou said the Liaoning had been used as a training platform for crew members of China’s new aircraft carrier strike groups.

“The Liaoning is too old to be a warship as its hull was built in 1985. China’s blue-water navy should be based on the new-generation carrier strike groups like Type 002, or even future Type 003 carriers, and other advanced warships,” Zhou said.

China plans to build at least

six aircraft battle groups for the water by 2035

, as the Asian giant tries to equal US naval strength in the Pacific region.

“China has three fleets to take care of the Yellow Sea, East and South China seas, with each fleet demanding two aircraft carriers,” Zhou said.

“Unlike the US Navy which has a global strategy, all China’s aircraft carriers can only be used for offshore defence because of China’s geographic location, where all neighbours keep a close eye on it.”

The United States remains the world’s strongest naval force and has 11 carriers, with two more under construction.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: New aircraft carrier expected to launch within a year

Source: SCMP “China steps up shipbuilding with two more aircraft carriers under construction towards 2035 navy goal”

Note: This is SCMP’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

Chinese PLA Navy Shandong Type 001A aircraft carrier conducts sea trials

May News 2020 Navy Naval Maritime Defense Industry

Posted On Sunday, 31 May 2020 10:25

During a press conference that was held on Friday May 29, 2020, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, has announced that the Chinese Navy (PLA People’s Liberation Armed Forces) is conducting sea trials for aircraft carrier Type 001A Shandong in accordance with the arrangement of the annual trial plan, said Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson of China Mod (Ministry of Defense).

China’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A Shandong left the Dalian Shipyard in northeast China’s Liaoning Province for military missions at sea on May 25. This is its maiden voyage for training since commissioned five months ago, marking that the Shandong has primarily formed combat effectiveness.

The training is to test the performance of weapons and equipment and improve the level of aircraft carrier training, so as to further enhance the troops’ ability to perform missions and tasks, Senior Colonel Ren said.

The Shandong Type 001A is a first-generation Chinese aircraft carrier that was launched on 26 April 2017 for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is the second aircraft carrier built by the Chinese naval defense industry after the completion of Liaoning.

China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, entered service in 2012. China’s second aircraft carrier (and its first fully indigenously built carrier), Shandong Type 001A, entered service on December 17, 2019.

The Shandong is a modified version of the Liaoning design that incorporates some design improvements, including features that reportedly will permit it to embark and operate a larger air wing of 40 aircraft that includes 36 fighters. Its displacement is estimated at 66,000 to 70,000 tons.

China’s primary carrier-based fighter aircraft is the J-15 or Flying Shark, an aircraft derived from the Russian Su-33 Flanker aircraft design that can operate from carriers equipped with a ski ramp rather than catapults. China reportedly plans to develop a carrier-capable variant of its J-20 fifth-generation stealth fighter and/or a carrier-capable variant of its FC-31 fifth-generation stealth fighter to complement or succeed the J-15 on catapult-equipped Chinese carriers. China reportedly is also developing a carrier-based stealth drone aircraft.

Source: Navy Recognition “Chinese PLA Navy Shandong Type 001A aircraft carrier conducts sea trials”

Note: This is Navy Recongnition’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.